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Co-Viewing Metrics Are Here, and Targeted Advertising Will Never Be the Same

July 11th, 2019   ||    by Oriana Schwindt

Co-viewing has been around as long as television has: Families have gathered around the TV set for decades. The main difference between today and the 1950s, aside from the sheer number of channels, is how those images on the screen are getting there—the options now include an antenna, coaxial, or fiber optic cable, and a connected device like a Roku or an Apple TV.

Connected TV purveyors and ad buyers are slowly climbing aboard the co-viewing bandwagon, according to Digiday. But the challenge for both delivery systems is similar: What’s the best way for advertisers to connect with these co-viewing audiences? We have two big pieces of advice.

1. Focus on Context, Not Demographics

If we’re talking connected TV, your audience overall is going to be younger, with larger families, according to a study from the IAB. Linear TV audiences will generally include older members of a household and children under 13, according to Nielsen. But as more households adopt and use connected devices—Leichtman Research Group estimated 74 percent have at least one—these distinctions will matter less.

Yes, different programming attracts different demographics, but what’s more important is taking into account how your ad fits with the programming surrounding it. Consider brand integrations or ads that play off characters or the aesthetic of the show. That’s the whole idea behind Turner Ignite Studios, according to Ad Age.

This mindset geared toward consumer behavior and context has been expanding in the industry over the last couple years; most notably at the media companies who partnered to create targeted ad consortium OpenAP. This consortium aims to provide a more standardized approach to targeted advertising that goes beyond age and gender demographics, Broadcasting & Cable explained.

2. Have a Strong Digital Presence

The aforementioned IAB study also found that 41 percent of over-the-top (OTT) co-viewers and 33 percent of linear co-viewers post on social media about the products or brands they’re seeing.

And they’re not just talking: 32 percent of OTT co-viewers are likely to search for products or purchase them online; 24 percent of linear co-viewers are likely to do the same.

This is a strong indication that brands need an active, engaging presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram in addition to the standard brand website.

That doesn’t just mean having an account on those platforms, but having it properly staffed to handle customer service inquiries and other responses from viewers. By engaging with these viewers as they watch, you can strengthen recall and even create a lasting relationship.

Having a strong digital presence will become necessary as targeting abilities for television continue to increase. For example, L’Oréal was able to target a TV campaign at women who had purchased lipstick over the past 30 days, noted The Wall Street Journal.

When you’re thinking about who is seeing your ad, it’s wise not to get too hung up on delivery; what you want is to be where the most engaged audiences are. TV viewers are still highly engaged—even more so than digital viewers, reported MediaPost. The big screen in the living room isn’t going anywhere.

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